JO WHALEY: Theater of Insects

Papilio Ulysses
Photograph (c) Jo Whaley /All Rights Reserved

Orthoptera: Acrididae
Photograph (c) Jo Whaley /All Rights Reserved

(c) Jo Whaley /All Rights Reserved

Tropea Luna
(c) Jo Whaley /All Rights Reserved

Insects continue to evolve despite the fumbling of man.
Although they appear so small and fragile, their species will most likely exist after we cease to.

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JO WHALEY studied Painting and Art History at UC Berkeley. She was a Scenic Artist painting theater sets and backdrops for the San Francisco Opera and Ballet companies. In 1989 she received the first of five Poloroid Grants.

"Insects depicted larger than life, approach a human scale. One can confront them face to face and wonder at their structure and designs. In these images, the insects inhabit peculiar dioramas of an altered environment, which is vaguely familiar to the human mind, but at odds with the natural world. These creatures have seemingly adapted, as they blend amongst the glass, metal and concrete. Atmospheric skies are questionable in their chemical composition. Nature has in turn, deteriorated the man-made, through rust, cracks and decay; indicating that man, too, is as fragile and minuscule as a moth. These images are metaphors of an environmental disquietude. However there is a parallel in reality. Some insects are adopting protective coloring to camouflage with our industrialized environment. The classic example is the white birch moth of Manchester, England; which quite suddenly changed to black, in order to blend with the soot laden trees. Biologists have given this phenomenon the name "Industrial Melanism". Insects continue to evolve despite the fumbling of man." Read Whaley's entire essay Theater of Insects here

The Theater of Insects Monograph


will said...

I really like these. Seems words aren't necessary.

Susan said...

Extraordinary photos - and fascinating how some insects have adapted to a man-made, industrial environment. The curious colours of nature never cease to amaze and inspire.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Very beautiful photographs. Interesting nature lesson also.

Gillian said...

Beautiful images - wonderful idea

Hz said...

Such beautiful portraits of my friends and neighbours.
Truly gorgeous. Hz

TR Ryan said...

These are stunning.


Muy buenas fotos!!!!

Those pictures are so beatyful,
are very, very good!

Ana Lucía


Unknown said...

Could be better.. :)

kyungmee said...

These are very beautiful series and a wonderful comentary for artist and the depiction! Thankyou;) I love butterflies having had the chance to nurture a beautiful monarch from cocoon stage until transformed and realeased into open when I was a teenager. The people who I spoke to recently at a butterfly conservatory stated that they do not get attached to another but when it transformed into a butterfly it flew to me and rested on my chest everyday as soon as I would get home. I had raised it indoors a few days because it had came out of its stage too soon and was bitter outside. Who knows, for me, maybe "we" don't know everything..there are mysteries ou there and the butterflies like the bees are some of them;) Sorry so long.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

WoW!!! Who thought I could just sit and stare at insects, their beautiful. Of course it doesn't take much to entertain this Ozark gal.

Have a beautiful day filled with blessings!!!

Phoenix said...

Gorgeous photos! Simply amazing...

d. moll, l.ac. said...